I am thinking about this Blog

Rodins The Thinker

I’ve been thinking about this Blog and what I’m trying to do here.

When I was in Eugene, my friend Alan suggested that I rework it so that what I write is directed more towards explaining and demonstrating the Blog’s central focus which is the Perfect Storm Hypothesis. I think he was right about that and I’ve been wondering how to go about it.

He gave me a general idea which was to simply discuss and reveal the interrelationships among the many contributing factors that comprise the coming storm. But, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m looking for something that is at once both succinct and expandable. Something that reveals more and more as it is added to and developed and yet doesn’t get tangled up in itself as it goes along.

One idea I’ve had is to see each story that’s related to the Perfect Storm Hypothesis as a cause and effect pair of nodes. Here are some examples:

– Global warming will cause rising sea levels.
– Rising sea levels will cause increasing environmental refugees.
– Decreasing oil supplies will increase the probability of resource wars.
– Overfishing will reduce future food supplies.
– Reduction of food supplies will lead to increasing political instability.

In one pair, a given node might be a cause and in another, it could be an effect as in ‘rising sea levels‘, above. The scheme would form, in aggregate, a multidimensional matrix. And it would be perfect subject material for hypertext oriented documents.

Within the structure, a reader would always be considered to be located at a particular node. And if that node was currently being seen as an cause, then effects would radiate from it. And if it was being seen as an effect, then causes would lead to it. One could progress through the system from node to node by following cause and effect links forwards or backwards.

And perhaps, as in neural networks, the links could be weighted to indicate an estimate of the relative strength of the contribution of the several causes to any given effect.

Such weighting could be most interesting. It could be inverse. For example, when women’s educational levels rise, their contributions to birth rates would fall.

I think the main challenge would be to specify the nodes well. Especially when dealing with soft non-quantitative cultural notions like human rights and women’s equality. These might seem clear but I have the feeling that they could become quite squirmy in practice when seen from different points-of-view.

But, if it was set up right, each Perfect Storm related story I encountered could be added to the mix and would labeled to show that it binds two nodes in a cause and effect relationship.  And over time, the aggregate would be the story I’m trying to tell.

I’m still mulling all of this over. Any comments would be much appreciated.

3 Responses to “I am thinking about this Blog”

  1. AWT says:

    I bet that Alan will be intrigued when he sees the weighted links in action. With enough node stories and proper link-weighting, the Perfect Storm database could an exemplary educational tool. As you create and find stories, don’t forget to relable and use those stories you’ve already published. Now, is there a way to display the entire aggregate so that the meta-story is diagramatically apparant and T-shirt ready? If so, you’ll want to acquire international copyrights so you can market, print, and ship the shirts from NZ. Good luck. I’ll continue watching this blog for progress.

  2. John Hicks says:

    I’m happy to stumble upon your blog (via Alternet then the Washington Post no less) following a story about toxic pharmaceutical effluents in India. The information that antibiotics are regularly dumped into human waste and piped back into the environment in a country as poor, populous and interconnected as India is a perfect storm all its own. What a perfect way to evolve, breed and distribute a super bug! It gave me that chill of fear that I used to enjoy reading science fiction disaster novels. But as Willam Gibson has been telling us in his geeky way: The science fiction future is now.

  3. I don’t know if I have any substantive advice anymore. My advice unitl recently would have been to clean up the look of the thing. I see you have already done so, and I’d like to voice a thumbs up on the redesign.